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This course describes the COBOL programming techniques you will use to process input for typical business applications.

The course begins by describing methods for handling input files that contain multiple record types. You will then see how to detect and process input errors. You will also find out how to control the processing each input record receives. In addition, you will see various techniques for selecting specified records from a file, processing combined conditions, and using case structures. This course ends by explaining how to manipulate character strings.

Approximate Study Time: 5 hours


After completing this course, you should be able to:

  • Code the COBOL statements necessary to describe the input data for a file containing records with multiple descriptions
  • Construct the edit tests required to validate given input data
  • Design and code the COBOL statements necessary to process rejected transactions, given a description of edits to be performed
  • Design and code the COBOL statements needed to select the specified records (using combined conditions and/or nested IF statements), given a problem description specifying multiple selection criteria
  • Design and code a COBOL program solution given a problem statement requiring the use of a case structure
  • Design and code COBOL program segments that use INSPECT, reference modification, STRING, and UNSTRING to manipulate character data

Topic Outline

Handling Multiple Data Descriptions for a Single Area

Basic Input Editing

Detecting Other Input Errors

Processing Input Errors

Controlling Record Processing

Processing Case Structures

Processing Character Strings


The course is suitable for entry-level programming students with no prior COBOL experience. It can also be taken by COBOL/400 programmers who want to learn ILE COBOL.


Before you begin your study of the material, you should know basic programming concepts and be acquainted with structured programming design techniques. In particular, you will be expected to understand program logic that is documented using pseudocode or structured flowcharts. You may have gained this knowledge from attending classes or from relevant work experience.

This course also assumes that you have a working knowledge of IBM i programming concepts and facilities. You can satisfy this prerequisite by successfully completing the courses in the following Manta series:

Finally, the course assumes that you have completed the previous courses of this series: